Double Consciousness: William James, W. E. B. Dubois, and Current Discussion of Race and Gender

Dissertation, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale (1989)

This study inquires concerning the significance of W. E. B. DuBois' concept of consciousness. A narrative of DuBois' personal and educational history and of the acknowledged importance of William James as his teacher and friend provides the introduction to the problems of this study: how parallel is James' concept of consciousness to DuBois' concept of double consciousness? What is the philosophical and political significance of the latter's concept in relation to DuBois' strategy for the improvement of his race? And what is the importance of the concept of double consciousness in current discussions of race and gender? ;This study proceeds through an overview of James' concept of consciousness as it was developed in the Principles Of Psychology, and as it was involved in his moral and social concerns. It goes on to discuss DuBois' texts to elicit a parallel concept of consciousness, and examines the bearing of his concept of double consciousness on the issue of race. This study concludes with a consideration of the employment of this concept in contemporary analyses of race and gender, answering the questions raised in the introduction, and appraising the significance of DuBois' concept
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